Solar energy is very important means of expanding renewable energy resources. In this paper is described the design and construction of a microcontroller based solar panel tracking system.
Solar is a nonconventional source of energy, considering this we have developed solar panels so that we can fulfill our electricity need. But due to revolution of the earth, solar source i.e. sun does not face the panel continuously hence less electricity is produced.
The energy panel should face the SUN till it is present in a day. The problem above can be solved by our system by automatic tracking the solar energy.
The block diagram below shows system architecture it consist of a LDR sensor senses max solar power which is being given to the Microcontroller through the ADC which digitizes the LDR output. Controller then takes the decision according to then algorithm and tilts the panel towards the direction of the max energy given by LDR with the help of DC Motor . The Motor is used to rotate the LDR to sense the max solar power.
A Solar Tracker is basically a device onto which solar panels are fitted which tracks the motion of the sun across the sky ensuring that the maximum amount of sunlight strikes the panels throughout the day. After finding the sunlight, the tracker will try to navigate through the path ensuring the best sunlight is detected.
It is completely automatic and keeps the panel in front of sun until that is visible. Its active sensors constantly monitor the sunlight and rotate the panel towards the direction where the intensity of sunlight is maximum. Residential that uses solar power as their alternative power supply will bring benefits to them.
The main objective of this project is to development of an automatic solar tracking system whereby the system will caused solar panels will keep aligned with the Sunlight in order to maximize in harvesting solar power. The system focuses on the controller design whereby it will caused the system is able to tracks the maximum intensity of Sunlight is hit.
When the intensity of Sunlight is decreasing, this system automatically changes its direction to get maximum intensity of Sunlight. LDR light detector acts as a sensor is used to trace the coordinate of the Sunlight by detecting brightness level of Sunlight. While to rotate the appropriate position of the panel, a DC-geared motor is used. The system is controlled by two relays as a DC-geared motor driver and a microcontroller as a main processor.
This project is covered for a single axis and is designed for low power and residential usage applications. From the hardware testing, the system is able to track and follow the Sunlight intensity in order to get maximum solar power at the output regardless motor speed.
In last ten years, many of residentials around the world used electric solar system as a sub power at their houses. This is because solar energy is an unlimited energy resource, set to become increasingly important in the longer term, for providing electricity and heat energy to the user.
Solar energy also has the potential to be the major energy supply in the future. Solar tracker is an automated solar panel that actually follows the Sun to increase the power .
The sun's position in the sky varies both with equipment over any fixed position. One well-known type of solar tracker is the heliostat, a movable mirror that reflects the moving sun to a fixed location, but many other approaches are used as well.Active trackers use motors and gear trains to direct the tracker as commanded by a controller responding to the solar direction.
The solar tracker can be used for several application such as solar cells, solar day-lighting system and solar thermal arrays. The solar tracker is very useful for device that needs more sunlight for higher efficiency such as solar cell. Many of the solar panels had been positioned on a fixed surface such as a roof.
As sun is a moving object, this approach is not the best method. One of the solutions is to actively track the sun using a sun tracking device to move the solar panel to follow the Sun. With the Sun always facing the panel, the maximum energy can be absorbed, as the panel is operating at their greatest efficiency.
The main reason for this project is to get the maximum efficiency for the solar cells. Although there are many solar trackers in the market, the price is expensive and unaffordable because the market for solar tracker is still new and only certain countries use the solar tracker such as USA and South Korea.
The large scale solar tracker that normally used is not suitable for the residential use. As a result, this project will develop a Sun tracking system specially designed for residential use for a low cost solar cell.Previous researchers and used LDR and photodiode as sensors respectively. Meanwhile and used DC motor with gear and steeper motor respectively.
Those projects have disadvantages and some of the disadvantages are high cost during development, difficult to control motor speed and difficult to design because using microprocessor.
The main objective for this project is to develop the sun tracking solar system model which is a device that follow the movement of the Sun regardless of motor speed. Besidesthat, it is to improve the overall electricity generation using single axis sun tracking system and also to provide the design for residential use. LDR or light dependent resistor has been chosen as the sensor because LDR is commonly used in sun tracking system.
This is because LDR is sensitive to the light. The resistance of LDR will decreases with increasing incident light intensity. For the controller, AT89S52 had been chosen. This ATMEL programming will give the pulse to the driver to move the motor.
For the driver, bi-directional DC motor control using relay has been used. The motor controller had been chosen because it can control the motor to rotate clockwise and counter-clockwise easily.
DC geared motor also been 8 chosen because it has a hold torque up to 24 kg.cm and low rpm. Last but no least, LM7805 is used to convert the input voltage from the source to 5 V output because integrated circuit only need 5 V to operate.